On October 18, 2018 the Veterans Administration (VA) instituted new eligibility rules governing qualification for VA Pension. This affects every wartime veteran and their spouses who are 65-years old or older or nearing that age.
Don’t let the name “VA Pension” fool you. It can be a misnomer because it’s not related to retirement and does not have a length of service requirement or that the veteran had made a career in the military. The purpose of this benefit is to provide a financial stream of income to help defray the costs of extended personal or medical care that is not covered by health insurance or Medicare.
In fact, many people refer to VA Pension simply as “Aid and Attendance.” In reality this is just one of the three types of VA Pension Benefits available (the other two are called Basic and Homebound) to provide financial assistance to defray the costs of extended care.
Unfortunately, since information about VA Pension is not widely known, is misunderstood, and now outdated due to the new rules, many veterans or surviving spouses of veterans may be eligible without realizing it or have been told incorrectly that they have too much income or assets to qualify.
This is extremely important for those that need extended care (in-home, independent living, or assisted living) now and can use need the financial assistance now. However, the new rules are also important for veterans who do not have the physical or health challenges to consider in order to plan ahead. This new urgency exists because there will now be a 36 month “look back period” with up a 5-year penalty for certain gifts or transfers of assets.
If you are a veteran, surviving spouse of a veteran, or work with veterans, it’s important to explore VA Pension benefits. If you need assistance or want to know if you are eligible or how to qualify, please let me know.